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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

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Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan

 

 

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Done Dating DJs
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Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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GREVEL LINDOP

 

 

 

Grevel LindopGrevel Lindop was born in Liverpool and now lives in Manchester, where he works as a freelance writer and was formerly a Professor of English at the University. Carcanet Press published his Selected Poems in 2000, followed by Playing With Fire (2006) and Luna Park (2015). His book about Latin America, Travels on the Dance Floor, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was shortlisted as Best Travel Book 2009. His biography Charles Williams: The Third Inkling appeared recently from Oxford University Press.

 

 

______

 

 

August

Well

 

______

 

August

 

 

The wind talks about autumn;

berries on the rowan

are making their red shift,

although it’s merely August.

The worst thing about age

is how often your friends die;

and with each one goes a question—

now it can’t be asked,

and the answer too is lost.

Spaces of the unspoken

widen towards winter:

the gutter choked with leaves,

roof-eaves frozen,

the static completeness of snow.

The garden beautifully returned

to the bright, unwritten page.

 

 

 

*

 

Well

 

 

Just once I raised a bucket of water

from a well. It was in Suffolk, and you would scarcely

believe how hard it was.

The wooden

drum

round which the chain

was wound, ended in an iron

ratchet, which had to be

released so that the bucket

hurtled down the long pale-brick throat

of the well, to hit the water

with an echoing smash, throwing lenses

of reflected sunlight that flapped and quivered

like moths against the walls, which were not circular but

a woven polygon of many, many

sides, each side a brick.

          Then I began to wind.

The ratchet went clunk-clunk-clunk

and how thankful I was

to have it, for once the bucket

had shaken itself, dripping, clear of that winking mirror,

merely to turn the windlass

required most of my strength.

I leaned

on the iron handle at the top of each

turn,

and I could clearly imagine

how, without the ratchet,

you might lose your balance

and that trembling mass of light

which by now seemed heavy as

mercury

might drag you down the brick tunnel.

The ratchet allowed safety, and a pause.

          The bucket, gently lurching,

after longer than I’d expected,

approached the lip of the well.

At the last moment you have to grasp

the bucket-handle,

set the bucket square

on the parapet

before unhooking

the chain. (Caution here:

the slopping mass has momentum,

the thing could still plunge back.)

Unhooking, I raised the quivering weight

off the parapet,

with both hands high

as my head,

lowered it

gratefully to the ground. Grasping the galvanised rim,

squatted

to gulp ice-cold water from the earth’s heart.

 

 

 

 

©2016 Grevel Lindop

 

 

Author Links

 

Grevel Lindop homepage

Grevel Lindop reads for Poets & Players (YouTube)

"Grevel Lindop Visits New Orleans"--poetry reading (YouTube)

 

 

 

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